The MMA world was on hold for what seemed to be an eternity this week as we collectively held our breath waiting to find out if Nate Diaz vs. Jorge Masvidal was a go for The BMF Belt at UFC 244. Earlier this morning it was officially announced that the fight is on, and all is well with Nate Diaz. But, how did we get here in the first place? Let’s take a look back at the last 48 hours to find out.
On Thursday I along with every other media outlet reported that the UFC 244 main event for the B.M.F belt between Nate and Jorge Masvidal may not be happening if what Nate Diaz posted on Twitter turns out to be true.
In one epic “Diazesque” tweet (see below), Diaz let the world know the dilemma in, and he is not a happy camper. Oh yeah, even though he is the one under fire for doping he made sure to remind everyone that “you’re all on steroids, not me!”
“I’m not gonna make it out to NYC for fight week next week because they say I tested with elevated levels that they say might be from some tainted supplements. I call false on that cause I only take Whole Food or natural food supplements. I don’t even eat meat. So until UFC, USADA or whoever is FUCKING with me fixed it, I won’t be competing. I’m not gonna play their game and try to hide it or keep quiet, as they suggested. I’m not gonna have my name tainted as a cheater like these other motherfuckers who keep quiet until after the fight just so they can get paid. Fuckin’ cheaters. I don’t give a fuck about some money over my dignity and my legacy. I’m not playing along with this bullshit. I’m not staying quiet and figuring it out after the fight. That’s cheating. So fight game I’ll see you when I see you.
The realest baddest mother fucker in the game.”
Then we waited. No word from the UFC, USADA, or the New York state athletic Commission (NYSAC) was given. When I reached out for comments on the situation there were none to be heard. Everyone was tight-lipped about the whole situation as if they all were getting their stories together. Meanwhile, rumors were running rampant about what set this all into motion in the first place.
In the excerpt below (from ESPN), it details the test in question, and the eventual outcome of Diaz not being complicit in any way, shape or form.
The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has ruled Nate Diaz, who is scheduled to headline UFC 244 at Madison Square Garden next weekend, has not committed an anti-doping violation, despite an atypical finding in an out-of-competition test taken in October. Diaz’s test showed the presence of Ligandrol, a banned selective androgen receptor modulator (SARM).
According to the UFC, Diaz’s levels of Ligandrol, a banned substance also known as LGD-4033 that stimulates muscle growth, was detected at a “double picogram/mL” level. USADA traced the substance to a legal supplement Diaz ingested, which was categorized as an organic, vegan, plant-based daily multivitamin.
“Mr. Diaz has not committed an anti-doping policy violation, has not been provisionally suspended and is not subject to any sanctions,” a UFC statement said. “Additionally, UFC has been informed by independent experts who have determined that there is unequivocally no appreciable performance-enhancing or therapeutic benefit from the significantly limited amount of LGD-4033 that may be present in his system, which is roughly 10,000 times lower than one LGD-4033 therapeutic dose.
UFC is an industry-leader in anti-doping and we continuously strive and advocate for an effective and fair program for our sport and athletes. From January of 2019, UFC and USADA, along with independent experts and consultants, have been reviewing the UFC Anti-Doping Policy to ensure it remains a reliable and effective tool to combat doping in our sport and to protect UFC athletes that compete in the Octagon.
As early as August 31, 2019, certain significant changes to the UFC Anti-Doping Policy have been agreed on in principle between UFC and USADA and, as such, have been put into practice. One of these changes is the adoption of scientifically-based decision concentration levels, also known as minimum thresholds, for certain prohibited substances where evidence has shown that positive tests of these substances below the threshold are consistent with innocent contamination. A positive sample of an applicable substance below the decision concentration level is treated as an atypical finding. An atypical finding will result in no violation in the absence of other facts or circumstances that confirm the athlete intended to gain an unauthorized performance enhancing or therapeutic benefit through the use of the substance.
Since August 31, 2019, several UFC athletes have had their provisional suspensions lifted based on the implementation of decision concentration levels, including Neil Magny. Mr. Magny’s provisional suspension was due to a positive sample containing a prohibited SARM (Selective Androgen Receptor Modulator), known as LGD-4033 or Ligandrol, in an amount below the decision concentration level for this substance. Mr. Magny’s atypical finding was reviewed by USADA and it was concluded that no other facts or circumstances were present that would have resulted in an anti-doping policy violation by, or sanction for, Mr. Magny.
On October 15, 2019, UFC was presented with a unique opportunity to discuss the topic of decision concentration levels in a public forum hosted by the California State Athletic Commission. Attendees at the summit included the California State Athletic Commission, the Association of Boxing Commissions, representatives from other state athletic commissions, members of the mixed martial arts media and anti-doping specialists and scientists. Representatives of USADA and UFC, including Jeff Novitzky, Senior Vice President of Athlete Health and Performance of UFC, discussed recent developments that support implementing decision concentration levels. Mr. Magny was also granted the opportunity to explain the facts and circumstances of his matter and his support for implementing decision concentration levels. At the summit, the California State Athletic Commission, the Association of Boxing Commissions and other attendees expressed significant support for incorporating decision concentration levels into their own rules and regulations.
On October 24, 2019, Nate Diaz released a public statement regarding a recent out-of-competition test conducted by USADA. UFC has been notified by USADA that the out-of-competition test concluded that LGD-4033 was present in Mr. Diaz’s sample at an amount below the decision concentration level for this substance. USADA is reviewing the out-of-competition test as an atypical finding. Further laboratory testing conducted by the Sports Medicine Research and Testing Laboratory (SMRTL), a WADA-accredited lab in Salt Lake City, Utah, has confirmed that two bottles of the same organic, vegan, plant-based daily multivitamin that Mr. Diaz was using were each contaminated with LGD-4033, which the evidence supports resulted in Mr. Diaz’s positive sample.
Mr. Diaz has not committed an anti-doping policy violation, has not been provisionally suspended and is not subject to any sanctions. Additionally, UFC has been informed by independent experts who have determined that there is unequivocally no appreciable performance enhancing or therapeutic benefit from the significantly limited amount of LGD-4033 that may be present in his system, which is roughly 10,000 times lower than one LGD-4033 therapeutic dose.
Upon completion of the revised UFC Anti-Doping Policy, UFC and USADA will make the policy publicly available.
One thing we have learned over the years is that when a Diaz brother says they aren’t going to do something whether it’s a media appearance, a book signing or a fight, they mean it. They only answer to themselves and no one else which is one of the reasons the fans love them. They don’t bow down to the man no matter what.
So when Nate Diaz demanded for a second time via Twitter that his name be cleared of any wrongdoing otherwise he wasn’t fighting, he was serious. He has always stated that he and his brother have never taken any PED’s, and was willing to forgo the main event slot at MSG and the payday that goes with it to protect his good name.
With the announcement that Diaz has been cleared, it is a victory for Diaz and the fans as the fight we wanted is happening as originally scheduled. However, the victory may just have changed things for every fighter on the roster.
Think about all the tests that have been administered to UFC athletes, and when one tests dirty, how long we must wait to find out results and possible punishments, or a fighter being exonerated of the accusation that they were doping. It has always been a long arduous process, and along the way a fighter is left in limbo as well as the fans and the promotion while USADA does whatever it is they do to test a fighter’s sample, that is until today.
It seems as if the whole process was exposed during this incident. We didn’t have to wait for weeks, we waited for hours. The rules concerning the allowable amount of Ligandrol seemingly are fluctuated depending on the situation.
So it seems to me that no longer should we or any fighter ever have to wait for the United States anti-doping agency to ever again give us the results of a test on a fighter because they’ve just proven that when they are backed up against the wall probably with pressure from the UFC, they are amazingly able to get test results quickly, and accurately.
Nate Diaz with one angry tweet accomplished so much, he had his name cleared by USADA and the UFC. He forced the UFC and USADA’s hand by demanding that they re-test his sample immediately, and they did. Lastly, he showed the world of MMA that the USADA program is broken and will have to be fixed so this doesn’t happen to other fighters the roster the future.
UFC 244 Diaz versus Masvidal for the BMF belt was on shaky ground for just a minute, but at the end of the day everything seemingly worked out. Nate Diaz keeps his name clean, just like his body, he still will be fighting, but most importantly from all of this, we are going to see revisions and new policies concerning the United States anti-doping agency and the relationship with the UFC and the fighters on the roster.
There is one little tidbit that we haven’t gone over yet and that is the fact that we have not heard a word from Diaz since USADA and the UFC announced that his name is in good standing with both organizations.
I’m expecting a simple tweet or post on Instagram at some point of him simply stating one of his most famous taglines and that is I’m not surprised motherfuckers , see you at MSG.
Christopher James has been in the MMA industry for 15 years, Working as a ring announcer for promotions like the XFC, Island Fights, Combat Night and Fight Nights Global during his career. Chris’ love for the sport and the athletes that partake in it led him to writing and doing face to face interviews with the athletes he admired and respected. Chris isn’t conventional by any stretch of the imagination, he has his own style, and takes pride in not being a “cookie-cutter” member of the media. Unique and sometimes controversial takes are what he brings to the table, forcing folks to think a little differently about the world of MMA. He also has a love for music as he has been a dj for 25 years and his love for music gets brought to the MMA world when he gets his guests to sing on his weekly show Cage Side with Christopher James which can be seen Wednesday nights on FACEBOOK LIVE, and soon via podcast.